The real stakes
There’s a joke going around the Congress headquarters, which is fast losing its punch line. Who are the three people who most want to see the BJP win in Bihar? The answer is Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Rahul Gandhi. With the infighting in the BJP it is no secret that the PM’s detractors would like to see him lose Bihar so that they can take him on. As for Rahul Gandhi, well Congress leaders fear that in case of a Nitish win he could well become the credible face of the opposition to take on Modi, with most of the allies supporting him over Rahul Gandhi. So, the Congress, it seems, has reason to worry.
The Empire Strikes Back
The old guard in the Congress, which is feeling left out in a Rahul Gandhi-led Congress, has started to strike back. Since they cannot take on the Gandhi family, they’ve come up with an interesting way out. Instead of disowning the family, they make a plea for Priyanka to come forward. It was Janardhan Dwivedi last year who recalled a conversation with Rajiv Gandhi in 1990 where the latter had confided to him about his daughter’s politically sharp instincts. Later, Hansraj Bhardwaj went a step further and stated that in his view Priyanka was better suited to lead the Congress than Rahul. And more recently, M.L. Fotedar too voiced a similar opinion in Priyanka’s favour. Clearly, the old guard is not going to be sidelined easily.
From Jupiter to Rahul Gandhi
There is much speculation about Rahul Gandhi’s new aide Koppula Raju, who seems to be in political flavour these days and is part of his backroom team. Senior Congressmen are making queries about this low profile head of the SC cell. A former IAS officer from Andhra Pradesh, he has been principal secretary to then Chief Minister K. Rosiah. Raju was also a part of Sonia Gandhi’s think tank, the National Advisory Council. Like most of Team Rahul, he too holds a foreign MBA degree, from Australia, but is currently employed in giving crucial inputs for Rahul’s Dalit strategy. Interestingly, it was he who came up with the infamous “escape velocity of Jupiter” theory, which was propounded by Rahul and mystified most of his colleagues. Clearly, if senior Congressmen now want to make inroads with Team Rahul they need to brush up their astrophysics. How that will help in Ground Zero is another matter.